XR Immersive Art

Kathleen Cohen

(California) Artist Website Artist-in-Residence Residency Year: 2021

Biography

Joining us from California, Kathleen Cohen is our very first artist-in-residence representing immersive art (which we are jointly defining during the course of her residency.) Her residency focuses on tech humanism, asking specific questions inside virtual worlds, “What makes up you?” and “What is real?”. She and her collaborators are specifically focused on exploring this in Boise and Moscow with two communities that struggle to communicate the answers to these questions to our larger community: indigenous peoples in Northern Idaho and neurodivergent individuals in Boise. Can creating identity in a virtual space preserve and better clarify identity in that space and/or for us as a physical community?

As part of this residency, Surel’s Place will be captured digitally and the digital twin will become a space in the metaverse. The capture of the house is a direct donation from the University of Idaho’s Virtual Technology & Design Research Lab. This could very much be an ongoing relationship with future immersive art residents representing a new genre in our residency program.

BIOGRAPHY

Kathleen Cohen is a digital and immersive experience artist focusing on extended reality (XR) and spatial computing projects, as it relates to future storytelling narratives and environments. Her background includes working as a creative artist and producer for DreamWorks Interactive, IBM Innovation, Disney Parks & Resorts, as well as being the Vice President of Digital Innovation for the National Constitution Center, helping to tell the contemporary story of our nation’s U.S. Constitution.

Ms. Cohen began her career as a traditional fine artist, classical painter and glassblower, then turned digital artist, initially trained at Silicon Studios / SGI to be a VFX animator in 1994.


PAST EVENTS:

The scope of this project involves many collaborators:

  • Elizabeth Rodgers – Screenwriter, Flimmaker, Adjunct Professor at Boise State University, Surel’s Place host for Ms. Cohen
  • Jim Bradbury – General Manager Black Box VR, working with AXRI, Autism Experience Reality Institute
  • John Anderson – Professor at University of Idaho, Virtual Technology & Design Research Lab Co-Manager, working with Indigenous People’s community
  • Julio Gonzalez – Graduate Studies, Virtual Technology & Design, University of Idaho, working with AXRI, Autism Experience Reality Institute
  • Chuck Westerberg – VP Business Development & Partnerships, Black Box VR

VIRTUAL WORKSHOP
WHAT IS REAL? PHYSICAL, DIGITAL OR VIRTUAL? XR STORYTELLING
Monday, October 11th  |  7:00pm

Join us on a Surel’s Place virtual walk through and a panel discussion about our first ever immersive art residency. You will be able to join via your computers, no VR gear is needed. The workshop will happen in real time at spatial.io. We recommend signing up for a free account in advance and registrants will be sent a direct link to bring you into the digital Surel’s Place.

You will learn what immersive art is with some of the leading technology innovators, setting the stage for the final presentation on November 5th, when we have both an indigenous and neurodiverse artist in the digital twin of Surel’s Place.


INSTALLATION
WHAT IS REAL? PHYSICAL, DIGITAL OR VIRTUAL? XR STORYTELLING
Friday, November 5th  |  5:30pm

As the title suggests, participants will be able to experience this event either at the house or virtually. During the residency, Ms. Cohen and her collaborators set out to provide the tech support for a native elder and an autistic individual to create a 3-D object in the digital twin of Surel’s Place. They may work together creating a digital asset that is a sculpture or painting. We will be able to witness how these unlikely fellows collaborate in a 3-D creation and what this expresses about their individual and collective identities.


HACKFORT EVENT
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S AND NEURODIVERGENT XR STORYTELLING @ SUREL’S PLACE
Saturday, September 25th  |  11:00am

This event is part of Hackfort and requires a wrist band for entry.

at Boise Centre, Room #110: 850 W. Front Street in Boise

Kathleen Cohen will discuss the process for a November art installation piece along with her collaborators John Anderson, Jim Bradbury, and Chuck Westerberg. Together, they will work to stitch a through line of indigenous peoples alongside neurodiverse XR communities – juxtaposing the northern and southern Idaho perspectives.